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FTC regs take effect

Federal Trade Commission regulations governing the information that must be disclosed on light bulb packages went into effect May 15. Developed under the umbrella of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the regs are "designed to help consumers buy the most energy-efficient bulbs that meet their needs," says Kent C.
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Howerton attorney for the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We've given manufacturers a lot of flexibility" says Howerton. "There's no special format but they must disclose certain information on their package in a certain order. Specifically light output measured in lumens must be first then energy use in watts and then light output in hours. We also included strictures in terms of size relationships between the different information. We want to give prominence to light output measured in lumens." Danvers MA-based Osram Syl-vania had made adjustments long before these issues came to light. "We already had all the necessary information on our package" says Dick Dowhan manager of corporate communications for the company "so all we had to do was put it in a chart form in the correct sequence and use a bolder type as specified. "This will affect consumers considerably" Dowhan goes on. "It will give them information they're looking for in an easy-to-read package. They'll be able to compare different products on the shelf." Though the new regs went into effect May 15 FTC is delaying enforcement until December 1 1995 while some confusion over incandescent bulbs designed for operation at 125 volts is cleared up.

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